The following is a verbatim HTML Transcript of an original
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Senior Vice President for External Affairs
April 15, 2006
(Recipient Name and Address Omitted)
write upon learning that an artists' competition is underway for a commission to
create a monumental bronze statue of Lincoln for the Old Dayton Courthouse, and
that the sculptor James Nance has submitted a proposal for this work.
have known and admired Jim Nance's work for several years, and consider his
Lincoln works, "Prairie Lawyer" and "Immortal Conscience," to be among the
best-sculpted likenesses of the 16th President that I have ever seen. A you
know, I have been a student of Lincoln imagery for more than 30 years, and have
examined, researched, and written about the great Lincoln sculptures of the past
century-and-a-half in books, articles, and monographs. I am familiar with every
work created from 1860 onward, and believe I am not exaggerating when I say the
"Prairie Lawyer" in particular is as good a likeness of the pre-presidential
Lincoln as any ever produced - or likely to be produced by any artist.
Considering that it was done in our lifetime, not Lincoln's without the benefit
of exposure to the subject himself, but rather from one-dimensional images, it
is all the more remarkable.
Happily, there are many fine sculptors working in the Lincoln field these days,
and Jim Nance is certainly among the best. I am sure his talent, record,
and commitment would make him an excellent choice for this exciting commission.
I have no doubt that his work would do honor to Lincoln's Dayton connection, as
made so well known to so many readers by Lloyd Ostendorf. The family could
not have a better advocate in bronze to translate this association - this
history- into bronze. I am confident, writing on this high holy day of the
Lincoln Calendar, that the greatest of our presidents would literally be in good
hands in the hands of sculptor James Nance.